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Zambia commissions first oil survey

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Oilfield Technology,

Early-stage natural resources exploration marks milestone in Zambia’s diversification agenda as the nation moves towards becoming a middle-income country by 2030.

President Edgar Changa Lungu heralded the beginning of Zambia’s new oil industry, when he commissioned the launch of a full tensiometer survey by Tullow Oil in Luapula province. The survey is the first of its kind to be undertaken in Zambia.

The identification of potential oil reserves in the North West of the country is viewed as a significant boon for efforts to diversify the country’s economy and reduce reliance on copper exports.

Zambia recently launched the 7th iteration of its National Development Plan, with provisions for the creation of 1 million new jobs over the next five years and the attainment of middle income country status by 2030.

Speaking at the commissioning of the survey, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said: "My Government has set a clear agenda to diversify the economy beyond copper and to realise the value of our other natural resources in a way which is transparent, sustainable and delivers positive impact for Zambians. The growth of an oil industry is a key pillar of our diversification policy and my government is working hard to create the necessary regulatory and fiscal measures to guide the development of this sector to ensure it unlocks value for all our people."

The president went on to say: "I thank Tullow for their commitment to Zambia and on behalf of my government, assure the company of our full and continued support to the project. I hope that where Tullow leads others will follow, and in partnership we will realise our ambitions to become a middle-income country by 2030 and improve livelihoods for all Zambians. We know that to create a new industry – the petroleum industry – is ambitious. To decide to do so in a way which is transformational for the many and not the few and which future generations will thank us for, is not an easy undertaking, however it is the only way that we will progress as a nation, in partnership with private enterprise."

Dr Ian Cloke, Executive Vice President for New Ventures at Tullow Oil added: "Discovery of hydrocarbons is by no means guaranteed. However, with Tullow’s exploration credentials, I can confidently say that if there is any oil to be found in this area of Zambia, Tullow will find it. Each step in our exploration process will be done in consultation with both the Government and Traditional Leadership and local communities. Our engagement – as elsewhere in Africa – will be based on respect for Zambian land and way of life. Although our activity is at a very early state, Tullow is committed to creating benefits beyond our activities through ensuring that our social investment plan contributes to and is aligned with the Government’s long term development priorities such as the 7th National Development Plan.

In attendance at the ceremony were His Royal Highness Paramount Chief Chitimulkulu, traditional chiefs from Luapula and Northern province, Government Ministers and representatives of Tullow Oil, which is listed on the London, Irish and Ghanaian Stock Exchanges and has an enviable record of oil and gas discoveries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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